BASIC ELEMENTS OF AN ETHICAL ORGANIZATION
There are at least four elements which exist in organizations that make ethical behavior conducive within an organization. The four elements necessary to quantify an organization's ethics are: 1) Written code of ethics and standards
2) Ethics training to executives, managers, and employees
3) Availability for advice on ethical situations (i.e. advice lines or offices) 4) Systems for confidential reporting.
Good leaders strive to create a better and more ethical organization. Restoring an ethical climate in organization is critical, as it is a key component in solving the many other organizational development and ethical behavior issues facing the organization.
Ethics in Organizations
By Marvin Brown
From debates over drug-testing to analyses of scandals on Wall Street, attention to ethics in business organizations has never been greater. Yet, much of the attention given to ethics in the workplace overlooks some critical aspects of organizational ethics. When talking about ethics in organizations, one has to be aware that there are two ways of approaching the subject--the "individualistic approach" and what might be called the "communal approach." Each approach incorporates a different view of moral responsibility and a different view of the kinds of ethical principles that should be used to resolve ethical problems. More often than not, discussions about ethics in organizations reflect only the "individualistic approach" to moral responsibility. According to this approach, every person in an organization is morally responsible for his or her own behavior, and any efforts to change that behavior should focus on the individual. But there is another way of understanding responsibility, which is reflected in the "communal approach." Here individuals are viewed not in isolation, but as members of communities that are partially responsible for the behavior of their members. So, to understand and change an individual's behavior we need to understand and try to change the communities to which they belong. Any adequate understanding of, and effective solutions to, ethical problems arising in organizations requires that we take both approaches into account. Recent changes in the way we approach the "problem of the alcoholic" serve as a good example of the interdependence of individual and communal approaches to problems. Not so long ago, many people viewed an alcoholic as an individual with problems. Treatment focused on helping the individual deal with his or her problem. Today, however, the alcoholic is often seen as part of a dysfunctional family system that reinforces alcoholic behavior. In many cases, the behavior of the alcoholic requires that we change the entire family situation. These two approaches also lead to different ways of evaluating moral behavior. Once again, most discussions of ethical issues in the workplace take an individualistic approach. They focus on promoting the good of the individual: individual rights, such as the right to freedom of expression or the right to privacy, are held paramount. The communal approach, on the other hand, would have us focus on the common good, enjoining us to consider ways in which actions or policies promote or prohibit social justice or ways in which they bring harm or benefits to the entire community. When we draw upon the insights of both approaches we increase our understanding of the ethical values at stake in moral issues and increase the options available to us for resolving these issues. The debate over drug-testing, for example, is often confined to an approach that focuses on individual rights. Advocates of drug-testing argue that every employer has a right to run the workplace as he or she so chooses, while opponents of drug-testing argue that drug-testing violates the employee's right to privacy and due process. By ignoring the communal aspects of drug abuse, both sides neglect some possible solutions to the...
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